Hey guys, the Partey started y’all. Crazy, no? by Joe Allysons
So I saw a few arguments in the transfer window that suggested, if we were to get Partey or Aouar, then the later was what we needed because “we lack creativity”.
This article is meant to dispel that myth as efficiently as it possibly can.
The idea that we NEED Aouar is premised on the whole concept that we need a creative force in midfield who should be a natural midfielder and sort of implies there’s no other way to improve the creativity in the team.
The Idea also seems to suggest that the team is extremely defensive, and a creative midfielder would be able to make us more attacking. I don’t agree with both premises and here is why.
To start with, I don’t understand why creativity should necessarily have to come from the midfield. Why exactly do we need a creative midfielder? “To play through-passes”? I’ve come to learn that the run makes the pass and therefore you don’t necessarily need a dedicated creative midfielder to play a through pass. We’ve seen Tierney, Xhaka, Luiz, Ceballos, Saka and Bellerin in just the first few games of the season thread their teammates through. That then negates the need for a dedicated person to do this job. I don’t think Xhaka’s pass to Pepe against Liverpool would have happened if Pepe hadn’t made a run. If he had stood still, the resulting pass would have been a stupidly overhit blind pass.
Okay, then, maybe you want more goals from midfield. That could be a valid point, but how many more? Is there no tactical setup in which arsenal midfielders could end up on the scoresheet? Looking at our play style right now, it actually looks more likely that the next person on the scoresheet will be Hector Bellerin because of how high up he’s being pushed when we have the ball. Against Sheffield, he was pushed even higher, literally playing as our right wide forward. Does Bukayo Saka count as a midfielder? He pushes up quite high and could get five or six goals this season. Xhaka, Partey, Ceballos, Elneny, the deep guys, It’s cool if they can get two goals each. They need to concentrate on the front 5 having the ball and not having to worry about getting hit on the break.
Ok then, how about a ball carrier in the middle. This is the weakest point of them all. After you have Ceballos, who is a pretty adept dribbler and can carry the ball, You now have Partey. He can carry it too. Even better, you could shift Willian inwards. I don’t know if you have all noticed, But Willian has barely played on the wing for Arsenal. The moment we have the ball, he tucks in and becomes a sort of number 10. That means you have another ball carrier in him. You have Bellerin, who is pretty good at keeping the ball at feet and getting forward. Question is; why do you need one right behind your striker? My answer is ‘you don’t’. I don’t know what yours is.
In Thomas Partey, we got exactly what we needed. A defensively solid high-quality player who’s really got us. We can now play so many different tactical setups simply because he’s here.
I do remember a time when I commended Ceballos for his role in the middle, but said Partey would perform it better. Now he’s here, I’m happy. I could say this is the closest thing we’ve had to a complete team since 2008 and I wouldn’t be lying.
I have wanted to write this article for a while now, but knowing how volatile our fanbase is, I figured it was better written after we signed Partey. I’d have appreciated Aouar, but I know one thing for a fact. He’d have just turned out to be like everyone else we have. Spinning around in midfield trying to find space, then passing it to Luiz.
Lastly, 3-4-3 isn’t any more defensive than 4-3-3. I actually feel like you guys look at formations on soccer apps and then wait for the results. It doesn’t really feel like you watch games. If you did, I’d wonder how you figure the formation is defensive. When we have the ball, we literally have only two centre backs defending and a sweeper keeper behind them. How is that defensive? We instantly have Tierney, Saka/Niles, Auba, Laca/Nketiah, Willian/Pepe, Bellerin all upfront when we have the ball. That’s six out of eleven players upfront.
If anyone has seen any one time that we’ve had the ball and Tierney has remained as a centre back, please remind me. More to that, all the six are as far upfront as they can possibly be and still be an effective passing option to their teammates. All the six are in front of our central midfielders. To be honest, I don’t think you could even achieve such offensive overloads with a 4-3-3.
I feel like this hanging on formations is making fans miss the point. Y’all aren’t watching the game. You just see figurines on a mobile app or your TV screen and instantly run off to your favourite blog to whine. You need to actually watch the game. Use your imagination and try to see what the coach is trying to achieve.
Thanks for reading. cheers.